Michigan forward Moritz Wagner is known for being an emotional and energetic player on both sides of the floor, as his play helped the Wolverines win the Big Ten Tournament in Madison Square Garden in New York City. However, as a result of his all-out play, he often finds himself in foul trouble.
In fact, Wagner has dealt with foul trouble throughout his career, as he averaged 2.7 fouls per game last season and 3 fouls per game this season. In addition, in 4 games in the Big Ten Tournament, the 6-foot-11, 245-pound German averaged 3.7 fouls per game.
When Wagner sat down for an interview with the Big Ten Network on Friday, he was shown a clip of Michigan coach John Beilein playfully criticizing him for committing “dumb” fouls.
“Don’t give him too much credit,” Beilein joked in the clip. “He still has some of the dumbest fouls I have ever seen. He’s so important to us, and I have to find a German way to tell him that fouling is stupid. So maybe out there somebody can tweet that to me or something.”
While watching Beilein say this, Wagner laughed and responded by saying that he told him how to say “dumb” in German.
Watch Wagner’s reaction around the 3:08 mark of the video below.
— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) March 9, 2018
“I told him what it was called [in German],” Wagner said. “I mean, obviously, the fouling is something that comes back, and around this time of the year, it’s something I have to be better at than I was in New York because there’s a certain significance to it, and it disturbs the rhythm of the team. So I got to be more responsible of that. Obviously, when you win, it’s easier to be a little looser like Coach Beilein did over there. So I have got plenty of texts over the last week about fouling. Even from Germany.”
As far as his on-the-court intensity, Wagner said that it is a part of his and his teammates’ games. However, he admitted that he has been told to tone down how animated he is on the court.
“Oh, always. I hear that all the time, and I know that about myself, too,” Wagner said. “Its important to find a certain balance with that because when you’re too animated and too emotional you lose focus and that’s not the purpose of it. But I’ve grown and I realize the balance between it.”
Wagner was also asked about the team’s Big Ten Tournament run, and how life has been for them since defeating Purdue in the championship game on Sunday.
“I think it was pretty intense, honestly, emotionally,” Wagner said. “You kind of enjoy winning for a couple of days, but then you go back to the gym and move on from that, as hard as it sounds. But as much as it’s fun to win, we want to continue to do that. Yeah, we’re back in the gym and do what we do best, and that’s get better.”
“I think the whole team agrees we are very far from done yet,” Wagner added.